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ALBUM REVIEW: We always take you with us – Epica

EPIC are undeniably one of the most popular symphonic metal bands. To celebrate their 20 years of existence as a group, they have just released their own box set, We always take you with uswhich contains reissues of their first four releases: The Phantom Agony, Consign to oblivion, The score and We will take you with us. On top of that, the box set includes the full live version live in paradisewhich has never been heard before.

It is quite obvious that the Dutch sextet acquired a sound of their own after the release of their first studio album. The Phantom Agony in 2003. The expanded reissue of arguably one of their most recognized albums features a total of 24 tracks. There are two new bonus tracks included in the reissue – the orchestral versions of feint and Illusory consensus. Feint (orchestral version) is simply stunning from start to finish, while the big concert type feel of Illusory consensus (orchestral version) makes this track unforgettable, completely breathing new life into it.

The reissue of EPICsecond work of Consign to oblivion includes all original tracks as featured in the 2005 edition, and there is also an updated version of the 2017 soundtrack compilation The Score 2.0 – An Epic Journey. Most fans should also be familiar with their 2004 live album reissue We will take you with usthis one including rare footage of the band first live TV show in the Netherlands. The DVD release has been sold out for some time, so die-hard fans of the band will be delighted to know they can finally get their hands on it.

However, perhaps most interesting here is the brand new live version live in paradisewhich contains live performances of EPIC in the magnificent Paradiso hall in Amsterdam, recorded in 2006. The first track of the album is Hunab K’uwhich has almost a little Pirates of the Caribbean feel it. The symphonic and dramatic nature of the song draws you in from start to finish, leaving you wanting more. You can just imagine the elevated feelings you would feel hearing this track live. The live version of dance of fate highlights the singer Simone Simons‘spectacular vocal range in the best possible light; proving to their ever-expanding fan base that simons and the rest of EPIC can certainly deliver in a live setting too. Sensorium is one of our favorites EPIC songs and it literally sounds like studio recording. The live instrumentals are flawless throughout, making this song pure perfection.

The live version of The Last Crusade is something to remember. The striking contrast between simons‘ enchanting voices and Marc JansenThe impure growls of make this song totally unique, giving off a NIGHT feel in the process. lonely place strong points simons‘ remarkable vocal talent. The slower nature of the trail makes you feel quite emotional and a lot to think about. shore strength is so dramatic and impactful live, with simons using its upper register to add more drama to proceedings. coup de grace is another track that really shines live. It’s remarkable how all the songs in this release sound exactly the same as the studio versions – what a treat for the ears. Linger is another inevitable teardrop in the tracklist, with you truly able to feel simons“Emotion in every note.

black infinity is striking in every way. The vocals are just flawless from start to finish. When the hard-hitting instrumentals kick in, you’re blown away by how amazing this band is. crystal mountain includes more impure vocals, which is definitely a change from what we’ve heard on the album so far. It’s great that they are ready to change things up to a certain degree musically. This would be another song that would be amazing to hear live. Seif Al-Din contains some GAP COILstyle instrumentals before the melody progresses to form something that is truly EPIC. facade of reality is another track that transitions between clean and impure vocals extremely well, whereas in Three Virgins you can actually witness the crowd reaction hearing this phenomenal track live and it only adds to the intrigue of what it would actually be like to be there watching them. Another Me (In Lack’eh) is a bit more theatrical in nature, which helps add more anticipation for what’s to come.

No doubt one of EPICmost popular songs The Phantom Agony is next to. It features even more crowd participation, which is fantastic to hear. cry for the moon is quite different live from the studio version surprisingly, with simons‘ softer, quieter voices; it makes this version of their iconic track all the more memorable. The instrumentals of Run for a fall are very magical in the live recording, which makes the track even more beautiful. mother of light is even more striking live, with simons making you hang on every word. Consign to oblivion is the last track to appear on the live album. Bold melody commands from start to finish, keeping you hooked on every note.

All in all, this box set is really fantastic. It is an exciting collection of EPICthe best work yet, not to mention the inclusion of the long-awaited live in paradise just hit the spot any way you can. If you’re a casual or hardcore fan of the band, you’re sure to be totally satisfied with this release in every way – it’s remarkably gorgeous.

Rating: 10/10

We Still Take You With Us is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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